It’s a Blue, Blue Christmas for diesel car makers in India
Much to the chagrin of the
Indian auto industry, the highest court in the country, the Supreme Court of
India, a few days after the NGT order, banned new diesel luxury cars and SUVs with engine capacities of 2000cc and
above from being registered in Delhi National Capital Region (NCR). This ban
continues despite several attempts by auto makers asking SC to revoke the ban.
SC clamps the rich man’s wheels; Common man trampled too
Coming back to the Kochi
Circuit Bench of the NGT, the latter also barred all 10-year-old diesel
vehicles- light and heavy - from plying on the roads of six cities--
Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kochi, Thrissur, Kozhikode and Kannur after 30
Kerala with its high per
capita income and its wealth influenced by expatriate remittances, has a great
spread of car dealerships that sell diesel vehicles not just for the masses but
also for the uber rich Malayalis. Almost every major luxury car brand selling
high-end diesel cars has a dealership in the state. Massive investments have
gone into setting up these dealerships, many of which have been built at huge
costs and are comparable to the best abroad.
Kerala which geographically
boasts of several hilly terrains, besides beaches and other uneven terrains,
has a huge demand for diesel utility vehicles with engines, unlike their petrol
counterparts, that produce enough torque to ply without hindrance in this
If the NGT were to continue
passing similar orders in other states too, it could spell doom for several
Indian auto makers and even the ancillary industry. Hundreds and thousands of
crores of rupees have been spent by the industry to build capacities to not
only manufacture these diesel vehicles but also diesel engines. To give a
couple of examples, Isuzu Motors recently set up its new plant in SriCity in
Andhra Pradesh to manufacture both diesel commercial vehicles as well as
passenger vehicle. Set up at a cost of several thousand crores of rupees, this
facility may be doomed if such orders were to be passed throughout India
because all its vehicles have diesel engine capacities of more than 2000cc.
On other hand, companies like
Force Motors which manufactures diesel vehicles has also invested heavily in
diesel engine plants for making engines for BMW and Mercedes-Benz India. These
investments would come to naught if a ban on diesel cars were to be imposed
across the country.
Several leading automobile
industry officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity told Motown India, the NGT order in Kerala
and the Supreme Court order earlier, banning diesel vehicles were not at all
favourable to the auto industry and may even spell doom for the industry.
“Our diesel cars are the most
fuel efficient and environment friendly. Banning them is not the answer to
controlling pollution. Emissions from modern diesel cars barely contribute to
the pollution in the air, as compared to dust, burning of waste, fumes from
obsolete vehicles, etc.,” said an aggrieved official.
The NGT order on diesel car
ban has affected several popular car models in the country. These include the
likes of Audi Q 5 and 7 series, Audi A8L, Audi A4, BMW 7 series, Ford
Endeavour, Isuzu D-Max, Jaguar XJ, Land Rover Discover Sport, Range Rover,
Range Rover Evoque, Range Rover Sport, Mercedes-Benz GLE-class, Mitsubishi
Pajero, Toyota Fortuner, Toyota Innova, among others.
Auto Industry is a soft target; SC ban order unfortunate